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Law targets ‘bots’ that buy hottest tickets before fans do

A new state law that targets

A new state law that targets "ticket bots" that scoop up in-demand concert, sporting event and theater tickets was written with help from "Hamilton" creator Lin-Manuel Miranda. Credit: Getty Images / Theo Warger

ALBANY — A measure signed into law Monday makes it a misdemeanor and sets jail time and fines for using high-tech “ticket bots” to immediately scarf up tickets to the hottest shows, sporting events and concerts for resale at exorbitant prices.

“It has become almost impossible to find affordable tickets — or even any tickets at all — for all popular shows,” said state Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, whose investigation led to the law signed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo. “Brokers armed with illegal, high-speed ticket-buying bots have kept too many New Yorkers from attending the shows, sporting events and cultural experiences that make New York so special.”

The law creates penalties for people who use the computer software to instantaneously buy up blocks of tickets as well as for those who resell tickets they knew were obtained by using ticket bots. The law makes it a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail for using ticket bots and reselling tickets secured by bots. Someone convicted of a misdemeanor under the new law could face a fine of $500 to $1,500 per ticket as well as forfeiture of all profits from the sale.

“It’s predatory, it’s wrong and, with this legislation, we are taking an important step towards restoring fairness and equity back to this multibillion-dollar industry,” Cuomo said. “These unscrupulous speculators and their underhanded tactics have manipulated the marketplace and often leave New Yorkers and visitors alike with little choice but to buy tickets on the secondary market at an exorbitant markup.”

The legislation was drawn with help from “Hamilton” creator and star Lin-Manuel Miranda, whose show was the hottest and most elusive ticket on Broadway this year.

Sen. Andrew Lanza (R-Staten Island) called the measure he helped pass “the strongest ‘anti-bot’ legislation in the nation.”

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